Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Eliza

Here is a sketch of the gingerbread house decorating queen, my niece Eliza. I'm on the road so this was colored with the only coloring implement I could find at my folks' house - a red scripture marker. sad.

Friday, December 16, 2011

12 Days of Christmas: Friendly beast

As I racked my brain for Christmas things I like I remembered my favorite Christmas carol from childhood:
 Jesus our brother, kind and good 
Was humbly born in a stable rude 
And the friendly beasts around Him stood 
Jesus our brother, kind and good. 

 "I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown, 
"I carried His mother up hill and down; 
I carried her safely to Bethlehem town." 
"I," said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

It's a good thing I liked the animals so much because in all the Christmas nativities I was part of I was always cast as a farm animal. Cow, donkey, camel. In my kid mind they were a lot better because they did something, not like Mary who just sat quietly  - BORING. 
(I do as an adult have great respect for Mary, the real Mary)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

I drew this on the first day of the 12 days of Christmas. It's a partridge in a pear tree. I'm not good at Christmas. This is my token effort since A loves the holiday.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Sometimes I need to draw. I get anxious and distracted til I sit down and get something on paper. It rarely produces "useful" drawings, but I can't resist. Tonight I really wanted to draw a deer head. Why? I have no idea.

I watched the movie Jane Eyre last weekend and I loved this exchange:

Rochester: (looking at Jane's portfolio) Were you happy when you painted these?
Jane Eyre: Yes. To paint is one of the keenest pleasures I have ever known.
Rochester: Then your pleasures have been few.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Black Dog

I've had the black dog, as Churchill would say, following me around the last couple days.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Miri's Apple

Miriam was walking around eating apple the size or her head. It made her happy enough that I had time to sketch her. She kept her back to me because didn't want me to take it away.

I threw a little color on it to make it easier to see.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


A little experiment. Helen of Troy, a face that launched a thousand ships.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Going Somewhere

Messy hair is so much more fun to draw than neat. I'm not done with this but thought I'd scan it to celebrate the fact that I managed to unpack both the scanner and my computer today.

What's up with the crazy eye? I could not draw good eyes today to save my life. Maybe it's my omnipresent twitch wanting to make itself known. My English Folk ways book, Alibion Seed, relates the Scoth Irish believed that a twitching eye was a sign of bewitchment.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Church Folk: A Just God

Today at church I heard this: My friends who are Hmong taught me it was possible to believe in a just God even after being tortured, literally tortured in Laos and I needed to know that especially when I found out about some terrible things that happened to my daughter.

And I saw this wonderful shoe.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Both Ends

Sketched this while waiting for a file to transfer around midnight last night.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Watching the Civil War

Drew myself while watching Ken Burn's Civil War. I started it Memorial Day. Still watching.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Beach Week

Click on the image to read the text.

Memorial Weekend we got to go on a beach trip which meant I got a little bit of just for fun drawing time. Here's a sketch I made when I should have been packing. Anything is better than packing.

Monday, May 23, 2011


This sketch is the very beginning of a long shot project. You know the kind.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Church Folk: Applause

Made these sketches in church today. I had under five minutes before R or M jumped on me or decided they really NEEDED my pen to play with. I threw some color on them to make them easier to see.

When hymns start, Miriam likes to look up from whatever she's playing with on the floor and start clapping.

And here's a guy who was sitting on the stand.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

IF Safari

Something totally different. I felt like I was falling into a rut and missing the color. So here's a quick scribble for the IF topic safari.

My niece loves zebras. I don't really see the appeal. At the zoo, I am repeatedly surprised at the arrogance of an animal who is content to eat the straw it poops on. It's like they know there are no unicorns and all those sweet five year old girls are going to have to settle for them. Just like that jerk boyfriend that'll come to dinner in about ten years.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mom 14: Merilee C

This is a sketch of my mother in law from a picture that was taken in the early 80s.
Conclusion 1: We seriously need to get some updated family photos in our house.
Conclusion 2: My husband takes after his mother. He has her nose, the shape of her face and eyes, her coloring. He's easy going but productive, loyal, fun loving but dutiful. It's cheesy, but I can't imagine having a better husband or a better mother in law.

PS Aaron wants everyone to know that his actual mother is much more attractive than this sketch.

Mom 13: Meetings

The moment you meet your first child is pretty amazing. The moment when your first child gets to meet your second, I think, is even more interesting.

Here's my awesome friend Rebecca introducing her new daughter to her son. I love Rebecca. If she was doing this project, she'd start late tonight and be done before me. She took the China town bus from NY to DC WITH a 18 month old to visit me. In college, she let me persuade her to skip class to go get lost in Puerto Rico using only stand by tickets and a few crumpled dollars in our pockets. Being around her makes you think everything is possible.

Mom 12: Coping

Here's a sketch of my friend reading while her kids play around her. She describes reading as her coping mechanism. Amen, sister friend! Sometimes I need to experience a fully formed, grammatically correct sentence during my day.

Mom 11: Sarah Familia

My friend Sarah sent me this image when I asked who wanted to be drawn for the mom marathon. While it took more work to draw four people instead of one, I think it makes a good point. Motherhood is something we do not do alone. I think that's one of the reasons I find it so challenging. I am a person who likes to be alone.

Sarah is a fascinating person. We met as newly married BYU students. When she admitted she'd intentionally given birth to her daughter at home in her little apartment, I was intrigued. I continue to enjoy learning her thoughts and opinions. Lucky for me she has a blog. She now lives in Tunisia.

Mom 10: Nancy

There came a time, shortly after college, when I realized the women who had raised me were beautiful. They had been before, of course, I just hadn't ever thought to notice. In revenge, I expect the same treatment from the rising generation.

Anyway, case in point. This is my middle school best friend's mom. She gave me a lot of rides in her van. She taught me how to do a lay up. She coached and cheered our basketball team. It being middle school, there weren't a ton of people around who were especially nice or supportive so I really appreciated Mrs. S.

I saw her again after about ten years. I was walking out of a store and she was walking in. I was surprised at how pretty this petite blonde woman was. I couldn't tell exactly how old she was. Then I realized I knew her.

I made this sketch from a picture taken at my friend's wedding. As soon as I saw it, it reminded me again of all the times I had seen her cheer for her daughters and thanks to proximity, my sister and I.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mom 9: Jean Cummings

Jean Cummings. This is Aaron's grandmother. I knew her at the tail end of her life but never felt like I could keep up with her. She was a ball of energy. When she passed on we inherited a good portion of her library, which I think might be the most intimate way to get to know someone. She had books on everything from Macrobiotic diets to string theory to copies of the bible in ancient greek. She reminded me a lot of her era, she had the miraculous optimism of the space age.

While drawing this I got the impression that she really would want the DC Mormon temple included so I added it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mom 8: Against a Wall

So much work to do. I'm lagging. But I'm hoping you all will soon witness my rally in which I will bust out a whole lot of great looking moms. Prepare yourselves.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Church Folk - Mom 6 and Mom 7

There is always a lot of baby juggling at church by both moms and dads, grandmas, grandpas, helpful neighbors, etc. I'm always impressed at the baby skills on display during long meetings. But since it's still the mom marathon here on the blog, here's two young Mamas I saw doing an amazing job today.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mom 5: Ruth

This is my Grandma, Ruth Frances Hooper Meldau. She trained and worked as a draftsman. Her lettering was extraordinary. She could write Reserved on an old piece of card board, set it up in a desirable parking spot and the lettering looked so exceptionally official and perfect that no one would take the spot. She could sew anything. She had an exact mind. She was incredibly loving.

My aunts kindly supplied me with some wonderful photos which I used to make this drawing. Later in life, when I knew her, my grandma Ruth suffered from several serious health troubles. She never talked about it, but I know it made her self conscious, especially about her appearance. So I really enjoyed being able to take some time to become familiar with the way she looked when she was young and healthy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mom 4: Norma

Norma with waxwing and wild persimmons

This is my good friend Norma. She is good at everything I want to be good at. Birding, dancing, making jokes, being married, finding food in the wild, writing, working, thrifting and on and on. I feel terribly jealous of her son. I would love to have someone like Norma raise me.

I'm cheating with this picture. Norma always looks really cool so I like to draw her. I drew this a little while back and it's been sitting on my desk patiently waiting to get painted. But I have been swamped with work so I don't have much time to do what I really want to do tonight: draw and write back everyone who has contacted me about being drawn in the Mom Marathon. All of you - Thank You!! I can't wait to draw you. You should hear from me soon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mom 3: Oma Rosie

This is my mom's mom, my Oma. My son calls her Oma Rosie. Whenever we pass our neighbor's roses, he will stop and say there are Oma Rosie Flowers! My Oma is much like her namesake: classic and beautiful.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mom 2

This is my mom.
I was going for thoughtful but she looks a little sad. Due to an unexpected death, I've been feeling sad this week and I think my feelings leached into my drawing. My mom is not a sad person which is one of the most impressive things about her. She works in a kids' cancer and blood disorder clinic so she's very familiar with lives that end too soon, that are unfair, that are full of suffering. She's taught me that life is precious and a journey that often ends much sooner than we expect and when life gets sad, really horribly sad, the best comfort comes from turning to God.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mom Marathon 1

If you haven't heard, I'm doing a mom marathon. 26 mothers before mother's day will appear on the blog.

Why? Because I hate mother's day. Hate it. I hated it before I had kids and figured I'd learn to like it when I became a mom. Nope. I hate it even more. So I figured I'd start a project that would keep me distracted from the awful day. Now every time the subject of mother day comes up I can spend the time thinking about how I plan to draw someone instead of listening to the awful songs, poems, tributes - blah

Mom 1: my sister. She's a mom. I think she might be my son's favorite mom. Her daughter is hilarious. And she was nice enough to help me through the first rough colicky nights with baby Miriam. She took a 3am-6am shift. She's that amazing.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Couch Sleep

I was going to read him a story but by the time I found the book he wanted (it took me maybe 2 minutes) he'd fallen asleep.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


This weekend I got to hang out with my family and enjoy conference. There are very few things better then spending church time in pajamas while playing with the kids on the floor. I got a chance to sketch Aaron and Miriam conferencing together while I "took notes."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I've been attempting to cultivate a little more personal style. I've been trying out the top braided bun. I really love it. It keeps the hair out of my eyes and out of my work wonderfully but I'm not sure if it looks as good as I hope it does. What do you think? Do I look like a creepy amish lady?

I've also taken to carrying a toad on my shoulder. Like a fairy pirate. I've heard it's very big in Madrid these days. Okay, not really.

Alas, there is no time to color. Paying work is making its demands.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Color Stir

Look Color! I am terribly addicted to black and white but I made a special effort, in honor of spring, to stir up some color for self portrait number 2. Only 28 more to go before July.

I really like how it looks better the smaller it is.

And I'm not sad. I know I kind of look sad when I get focused and draw. I was listening to Wait Wait Don't Tell me so I'm seriously laughing inside. I attribute my inadvertent doleful expressions to my Northern European heritage.

Now I have to go paint cheerful cupcakes. Help me think happy thoughts.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hester Scribbled

I reread The Scarlet Letter last week and I remembered how many incredible scenes are in that book. I want to illustrate the whole thing. The book begins when Hester is brought out of jail to be shamed and exhibited in front of the whole town as a warning against evil. But she doesn't break down, doesn't give in to pressure to convict her accomplice. She holds her newborn baby and stands everyone down. She's seriously powerful. I wanted to draw that but I don't think this scribble does her much justice. Poor Hester. She never gets much justice.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

27 Going On 30

I read that Van Gogh decided, after several alternative vocational attempts, he wanted to become an artist at the age of 27. He went on to paint his self portrait over 30 times. What I love most about Van Gogh is his ruthless determination. He painted over and over and over again and was never satisfied. I love people like that.
I'm 27. And I've decided to do a series of self-portraits. I'm going to try to 30 before I turn 28.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Sheep

Sorry for the disappearance. I got sick then everyone around me got sick. We are mostly better, but now we are all trying to dig out of the mounds of work that didn't get done during our plague. So all I have to offer is another meeting sketch. It's a happy sheep and a happy Miriam. If you haven't noticed when I don't know what to draw I usually draw a sheep.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hunger Games' Katniss and the Tracker Jackers

So here's Katniss treed under a swarm of tracker jackers. Haven't read Hunger Games? You probably have no idea what I'm talking about. I barely know what I'm talking about. I read all three books in four days a few months ago, so forgive me if I got some of the details wrong.

My brother told me The Hunger Games was like Ender's Game. It's not.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Spirit Animal

Sketching this and that I think I've discovered my spirit animal. At least what my current spirit animal resembles. Those chipper birds? Nope. I'm pretty sure I'm channeling the globby blob of an elephant seal. That expression is so me. Currently. My house has been hard hit with the flu. Yuck. When we recover, if we recover, I'm hoping to fulfill my promises of the appearance of color. Maybe in time for spring?